Shrimp with pasta is a great recipe template with so many different delicious variations in it. From quick weeknight meals to pride of place at a fancy dinner, the humble shrimp can do all kinds of things when paired with a little bit of pasta.
We’ve collected some of the very best shrimp with pasta recipes for you to choose from, so you can cook up a feast regardless of how you like your shrimp cooked.
This delightful dish is quick and easy to make, only taking up 20 minutes of your time! The pasta called for here is fettuccine, but it won’t do any harm if you sub in that spaghetti you have in your kitchen cupboard.
The seasoning is simple but classic and delicious – garlic with some oregano and parsley, backed up with a little crushed red pepper flakes. It’s finished off with some Parmesan for that creaminess and that nutty taste. Enjoy!
Like the previous recipe, this one brings you a deliciously bold garlic flavor, but adds a wider variety of bright Mediterranean colors and flavors by giving the pasta a sauce including lemon, parsley, tomatoes, and peppers (Aleppo peppers in the recipes, but bell peppers will do).
This rich, creamy dish is another great weeknight option as it only takes about half an hour to put together. The creaminess is augmented by a nice hit of paprika, which isn’t going to make your mouth burn but provides a wonderful warmth and fragrance to the dish. The recipe calls for white wine, but if you’d rather not use it, you can substitute lemon juice to mimic the acidity.
Speaking of lemon juice, here’s an amazingly fresh-tasting lemon seasoned recipe. The lemon goes nicely with the parsley (hey, it’s a combination with a very long history) and the Parmesan cheese comes with the rich, nutty flavor to make the texture creamy. As a secret ingredient, it also includes a homemade Italian seasoning blend (for which the recipe can be found here).
This one is something a little different to the ones that have come before on this list in that it’s a bake (although there’s some continuity in that it’s garlicky!) Making your own Alfredo sauce is nothing difficult, as this recipe will show you. If you’re really in a hurry, you can use a premade sauce from a jar, but the one you make yourself will be tastier (and probably healthier too).
Yep, this probably isn’t the sort of dish you were expecting to find in this article, is it? But think about it. Pasta and noodles are more or less the same thing, aren’t they? With that out of the way, kung pao shrimp is just a great dish, and it’s super simple to make too.
The seasoning starts off with ginger and green onions for that distinctive Chinese taste. It packs a bit of heat with sweet chili sauce and sriracha sauce on the ingredients list, and the roasted peanuts add a great crunch that you shouldn’t leave out.
Cajun seasoning is a great blend of herbs and spices with a decent bit of heat that goes very nicely with shrimp in this pasta dish. Butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan mean that this is a particularly rich dish, so you might be able to eat less of it than you were planning to! The lovely color of the parsley garnish tops off a great all around dinner.
Pesto goes well with so many things – chicken, fish, and, yes, shrimp too. The pine nuts (or almonds, if you prefer) add a nuttiness and a pleasing bite to the dish. The penne pasta used here is good for absorbing and keeping flavor since the pesto can get into the holes in pieces, but you can sub in whichever pasta you like, really.
A spicy version of the classic shrimp and pasta combination for those who like it hot. This one involves making your own shrimp stock from shrimp peels, which, you’ll be relieved to hear, is much easier than it sounds. You can make the rest of the dish while the stock’s bubbling away, meaning that it barely takes you any extra time to make. Feel free to increase the spice if heat’s your thing.
Here’s a dish that seems very fancy in comparison to how easy it is to make, so it’s a useful go-to dinner if you need to impress someone without putting in too much time, effort, or money.
There’s still a good amount of sophistication to the dish – it has mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, and several herbs to build up a mature, pleasing flavor. The texture of the asparagus provides a great contrast to the pasta and the shrimp, too.
Here’s something a little different. Orzo is a type of pasta that looks like a large grain of rice (hence its other name, “risoni”). This salad makes for an excellent lunch, with plenty of green vegetables to add crunch and a great tart, tangy lemon dressing. Chives, parsley, and tarragon round off the flavor profile in a satisfying way.
Fra Diavolo is a spicy Italian tomato sauce and its name literally means “brother devil”. This is a reference to the spicy red pepper that’s one of its key ingredients. It’s also big on garlic and herbs, which makes this dish a treat for the senses. The pasta of choice in this one is linguine, but others could be good options as well.
If you’re craving an Asian takeout style meal but want something a bit lighter than the usual General Tso’s chicken with crab rangoon, this is the dish for you.
Soba noodles (aka buckwheat noodles) are a delicious alternative to standard egg noodles or pasta and are good for you too! There are a few Asian ingredients in this recipe, but nothing that’ll be much trouble to find (rice vinegar and sriracha sauce is as exotic as it gets). The cold, tangy noodles are a perfect lunch on a hot day.
This is another recipe with a little Cajun flair to it, but this one uses Andouille sausage and black beans. Andouille sausage is a sausage of smoked pork that originates in France, and is one of Cajun’s cuisine’s most flavorsome ingredients (which really is saying something).
This dish is also notable for featuring casarecce, a fairly uncommon type of Sicilian pasta. You might find it tricky to get hold of, in which case you can use fusilli or farfalle as good substitutes. With the beans slow cooked earlier in the day, they’re incredibly tender and the perfect accompaniment to the shrimp and pasta.
We’re rounding off this list with another Asian-style dish – bang bang shrimp pasta. If you’re wondering about the name, here’s a quick explanation. This dish originates from a Chinese dish called bang bang chicken, which got that name from the sound made by the mallets that were used to tenderize the chicken.
There’s no need to tenderize the shrimp in this version, however, so there’s no need to fear any loud noises. This dish is both creamy and spicy, featuring heavy cream, Thai sweet chili sauce, and sriracha sauce. All this makes it wonderful, rich and warming, so it’s a great meal for relaxing with on a cold night.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between Shrimp and Prawns?
Biologically speaking, they’re different (though related) types of animal (if you want to get technical about it, they’re two separate sub-orders of the order Decapoda). In the context of food, the two terms are used somewhat interchangeably. “Shrimp” is more common in the US, while “prawn” is more common in the UK. “Prawn” is also sometimes used in general for large shrimp (as in king prawns).
You might see either word used in recipes written in different countries (Commonwealth countries like Australia usually follow the British usage) but, unless they specify otherwise, they’re usually referring to the same thing.
How Long Should Shrimp Be Cooked?
Of course, it depends on how large they are and how they’re being cooked, but in general, they don’t need to be cooked for all that long.
2 – 3 minutes on either side should be enough in most cases. A useful visual cue is that when they’re cooked just right, they usually curl into a ‘C’ shape. If they’ve made an ‘O’ shape, then it probably means you’ve gone too far and overcooked them.
If you’ve cooked the shrimp, but it still looks gray or translucent, don’t eat it. Cooked shrimp should look pinkish red.
What Size of Shrimp Goes Well with Pasta?
Shrimp are sized in a way that can be inconsistent between different sellers. What’s jumbo for one might just be large for another. Generally, though, shrimp are sold according to how many shrimp you’ll get if you buy a pound by weight.
For pasta, the shrimp you’ll want are sized anywhere from medium to large, which usually means that you’ll get somewhere between 30 and 40 per pound. These will also work in salads, but for those you might want the helpfully named “salad shrimp”, which can be anywhere from 50 to 70 per pound.
Now you’ve got more shrimp pasta recipes than you can shake a stick at, you’re ready to get cooking! Whether you like it spicy or are more of a lemon and herbs type of person, there’s more than one recipe that suits you perfectly on this list. Enjoy!